Kevin and Linda O'Leary are being sued for wrongful death for their involvement in August's fatal boating accident. The family of one of the victims is seeking punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages. The driver of the other boat, Richard Ruh, is also named in the lawsuit.
Linda O'Leary, the wife of the Shark Tank star, was allegedly driving the boat on Lake Joseph when it crashed into another vessel. Two passengers on Ruh's boat — Gary Poltash, 64, and Susanne Brito, 48 — were killed. Three others were hospitalized, including one passenger on the O'Learys boat, but all were later released. Brito’s parents, Rosa and Antonio Ragone, and sister Paula are taking legal action.
"For this grieving family, it is about obtaining civil justice so as to prevent these types of deaths and curtailing reckless and dangerous behavior from continuing on our lakes," attorney Patrick Brown said in a press release.
Rosa Ragone released the following statement through Brown: "Our family has lost a beautiful, loving person. We are devastated. We sincerely hope that through this process, that justice is served and that steps are taken so that innocent victims like Suzie, are not seriously injured and killed and that other families do not have to go through such pain and loss. Operating pleasure crafts comes with great responsibility. We hope that from this process, that water safety is taken more seriously."
Yahoo Entertainment reached out to a lawyer for Linda O'Leary, but did not immediately receive a response. A representative for the Shark Tank star isn't commenting at this time.
TMZ reportedly obtained a copy of the lawsuit which alleges both Kevin and Linda were driving the boat. "The lawsuit says both Kevin and Linda should have checked the other for driving too fast and that they both had a propensity for driving too fast. The lawsuit says the boat they were driving was deficient ... among other things, it didn't have a proper horn and it was not in good condition," the website claims.
The lawsuit reportedly alleges the O'Learys were incapable of safely operating their boat because their judgment was impaired by alcohol, drugs or fatigue. The documents purportedly claim the TV star and his wife had poor vision, were prescribed glasses and that they weren't wearing them at the time of the crash. The lawsuit also accuses the O'Learys of texting and driving.
Brito's family is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit says the O'Learys "behaved with arrogance, high-handedness and have shown a callous disregard and complete lack of care," according to TMZ.
In September, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) charged Linda O'Leary with "careless operation of a vessel." Ruh was charged with "failing to exhibit navigation light while underway." A lawyer for O'Leary at the time called the incident "a terrible tragedy," but added, "we find it regrettable that the OPP has chosen to charged Mrs. O’Leary under the shipping regulations in circumstances where the person has always been a cautious, and certainly experienced boater, came in a collision with an unlit craft on a dark and moonless night on Lake Joseph."
Linda O'Leary was reportedly administered a DUI test the night of the accident and passed. A court date has been set for Nov. 21. If found guilty, she will be fined $7,600 but not jailed as it is not a criminal charge, according to Reuters.
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